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COX Architecture's National Maritime Museum of China Opens to the Public


China’s latest landmark, the National Maritime Museum is now open to the public. 6 years in the making, the project is first of its kind. Designed by COX Architecture, after winning the international design competition back in 2013, the museum is located in the recently developed Binhai New Area, in the city district of Tianjin.With a distinctive form, reaching out into the bay from a large waterfront parkland, China's first National Maritime Museum is a monumental intervention. Comprising four wings, focusing on the themes of "the ancient ocean," "ocean today," "journey of discovery" and "the age of the dragon", the project aims to highlight China’s maritime evolution. Covering 80,000 square meters, the three-story museum includes six display areas and 15 interconnected exhibition halls.





A series of interconnected pavilions cantilever out over the water from a central reception hall, a space for transition that provides access to the upper of the two exhibition levels. The interconnected halls “provide a constant connection between inside and out”. In fact, the landscape orients visitors and organizes their experience.


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Fully operational now, the museum held its soft opening in May 2019. 150,000m2 of site, 80,000 GFA and 39,000m2 of exhibition space, the museum is two and a half times larger, in terms of both length and site area, than the Sydney Opera House the NMMC. Granted the World Architecture Festival Future Project of the Year, Future Cultural Project of the Year and the Competition Project of the Year in 2013, the project is a cultural phenomenon on the global stage. 





The process was innovative – especially for a project of this size, scale, complexity, and location – in its deployment of parametric computer modeling that allowed both scale and detail to be resolved concurrently. Physical models focused on human scale and interaction while complex geometric algorithms resolved the doubly curved building ‘shell’ and its related cladding system. -- COX Architecture



  • Client: National Maritime Museum Preparatory Office Chinese Government and TianjinMunicipality
  • Local Design Institute Partner: Tianjin Architecture and Design Institute (TADI)
  • Key Consultants: Arup, Lord Cultural Resources, Urbantect



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